Monday, January 31, 2011

The advancement of movement

Concept car from 1950 
A while ago I mentioned a book I have been reading, (HERE) Ken Robinson's "Out of our Minds".  So far it has been a super interesting read, full of insight on the current trends and research in all sorts of areas including technology, paper, business, and problem solving among others. I am in the middle of 3 books right now so it is slow going but I wanted to share some startling statistics in a few areas of technological growth.

In 1950, the average person travelled about 5 miles per day
In 2000, the average person travelled about 30 miles per day
In 2020, the average person will travel about 60 miles per day

William Shakespeare's father was born in Snitterfield England (near Stratford-upon-Avon) Until he was 34 he had never left the village. He then decided to leave Snitterfield to seek his fortune in Stratford.  This is 3 miles away.  It is hard to believe at todays level of travel that this was a big deal but to think that his parents, grandparents, and great grandparents never left the village in their lives.  The pace of change in one thing this book really hits home and it is quite interesting.  Robinson relates the advancement as the image of a clock.  If the last 3000 years was a clock face with each 60 minutes representing 50 years.

3 minutes ago the internal combustion engine was invented
2 minutes ago the motor car
90 sec ago the jet engine
1 minute ago rocket propulsion
50 sec ago space travel
10 sec ago the reusable space shuttle

This advancement in technology is not across the board though.  Robinson reports that if the automobile industry would have grown as fast as the computer technology the average family car would be able to travel at six times the speed of sound, it would be capable of 1000 miles per gallon and it would cost about 70 dollars.
I am interested in the curve of change (the dramatic shift) and where it was going, since the industrial revolution we have been in a race with ourselves (and at some points, others) but the escalation is reaching a dangerous velocity especially with respect to education and employment. There also has been a loss with all this technological advancement.  There has been a loss of commitment to one thing, the idea of mastery is becoming something people admire but don't try for.  In my opinion our current culture  has created an environment where it is harder to obtain a status of mastery.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Boris's 1st Spring Post

Thank you for joining me for the festivities Thursday. Felt really good to be amidst friends, colleagues, collectors, students and alumni. Flattered to see the painting on a student’s iPhone as a screen saver, I suppose. Laura Eastes called it “vibrant” in the yesterday’s Georgetown paper. Very flattering.

Last summer, I thought about building on something that I have done earlier last year at The Cincy Fringe (in the Academy lobby) and re-consideration of Bronzino (his paintings shaped late mannerism, as Holland Cotter puts it “the profane, twisty, prosthetic style that erupted like a repressed libido, between the humanist sanctities of the Renaissance and the smells and bells of the Counter-Reformation.”) The very first sketch thereafter was a seascape of jagged coastline. A view of surf formations kin to the Adriatic (my sea growing up) or the Aegean (where I occasionally teach in the summer). Growing up in Northern Serbia, landlocked, much like we here in Northern Kentucky, this thought of seagulls’ squawking and waves crashing, was as close we could come to a place and sound of a getaway pleasure. For me, it is by the same token, a ghastly fairytale, too. An ironic displacement, think of Jan Van Eyck on Bondi Beach, or something odd like it. Beyond that, it was a lengthy and exciting journey of sketching, drawing and taking notes. (The Gallery leaflet by Laura Stewart contains some of them)

Just in case you spaced out last evening... are some photos for your viewing enjoyment:
before the space talk

space friends Brandon and Kristin Chandler Long
talking space with Boris Zakic

think TIME CHANGE and be sure to visit the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery often for multiple space trips!

Cover Design Competition Deadline: April 30, 2011

The British Journal of Aesthetics is currently holding a cover design competition open to full-time undergraduates and graduate art students. We encourage you to submit a cover design! The winning design will be used on the cover of the October 2011 issue of the BJA. The issue will also carry a half-page about the winner and his or her work. Five printed copies of the issue featuring their design will be sent to the winner, who will also be invited to choose £150-worth of OUP books, free of charge.

Find more information about the competition online.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What do Pictures "Really" Want?

W.J.T. Mitchell knows....or, at least thought he did. Come to the Reading Group to find out more. Thursday 1/27/ @ noon in the art building.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Opportunity: Internship KHS DEADLINE 8/31/11

The Kentucky Historical Society is working with Northern Kentucky University’s Kentucky Service Corps program to secure student internships in KHS’ Museum Collections & Exhibitions Division. Three internships are available to any undergraduate or graduate student interested in collections management.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

s p a c e

an exhibition in the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery
January 27 - February 24, 2011

Reception and dialogue 
a GC CEP/NEXUS event 
Thursday, January 27, 5-7 p.m.

Please pose questions for the January 27 dialogue event by posting a comment, below, or via e-mail to

Monday, January 24, 2011

A slow hunch

For my post today I wanted to reflect upon a portion of a talk by Steven Johnson, not the whole talk but just one portion.  The whole talk is about where good ideas come from and where creativity and innovation exist.  I would highly recommend watching the video, like most ted talks is it about 18 minutes long. He talks a lot about the english the coffee house and how coffee played such a big role in the enlightenment. Good stuff.  But what I wanted to talk about for a few moments starts at 9 min 30 sec.  Johnson talks about what he calls the "slow hunch".  An idea that is not a eureka moment but it is something that exists underneath or behind other ideas for years.

Link to VIDEO

In the coming months we will have great discussions at Art for Lunch. One will be on tattoos one on higher education, but the one that I think I am getting most excited about is about unforeseen visions.  All of the art faculty and staff are going to be discussing ideas that never came to fruition.  So often I look back on my sketchbooks and come across ideas, or images of ideas that have never come to the workbench but have been peeking in and out of my work for some time.  The exhibition "Bookends or Lapjoint" that Darrell Kincer and myself had at the TUSKA center at UK has really set with me in terms of reflection.  It was so interesting to look back and see so many threads I had not seen before. My first performance works dealt with chairs and then no chairs for 5 years. In graduate school I start making performative chairs and some prints about chairs as containers.  Chairs leave for a few years and then I start making chairs as a form of portraiture and hiding things in chairs from Goodwill.  Chairs leave for a few years and my little girl Olive asked me to draw with her and I start drawing a chair, my wife comments "Why is it when anyone asks you to draw something you draw a chair?"

sherif elhage

The above work is from a must see photographer named Sherif Elhage.
He uses no digital technology in the creation of his work, so no lightroom or photoshop, it does not say if he uses a digital camera or not, just that the images come "straight from the camera".  His website (cutely named can be visited HERE.

Friday, January 21, 2011

SP11 interns begin their work

Students undergoing internships this semester will be writing blog posts as a means of providing regular updates of their work. The student interns in art history, curatorial, and archival work are: junior art history major Bess McHone; junior art history and art studio major Devon Stivers; and senior English major Jacob Pankey. The student blogs will be linked along the right column under the label "Art Department Links"
or as regular posts to our department site.
First up, Bess, who is an intern at Cardome. She has made her first post today, giving an intro to her project. She writes, "This [site]....will be updated regularly with information found in the Cardome archives. It will also include questions concerning events in its past as well as inquiries as to students' identities." See the link at right and watch her site for further updates.
In the coming weeks, you'll hear more from the interns. Please feel free to post and ask questions of them. These types of internship experiences enable our students to apply what they have learned in the classroom and to extend their own knowledge through experience-based inquiry. We wish them well in their work!
Image courtesy of Saul Zalesch, an expert in ephemera. Thanks for the cd of images, Saul!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

AHRG: Art History Reading Group TODAY at noon!

Students who love art history and like to read are invited to attend the Art History Reading Group's planning meeting TODAY, January 20th at noon in the art building. We will set a regular meeting time (about every two weeks) to discuss an article, a chapter from a book, or other reading. The articles would be chosen by all of us, based upon our interests and could focus on art history or museum and curatorial practices. The reading group is entirely voluntary and optional. The group is not restricted to art history majors, but requires an understanding of art history (generally). If you are interested in participating, please come to the meeting. If you have a book or reading that you'd like us to consider reading, please bring it to the meeting.

Note: Photo by James Rye, see his Flickr site

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Taking the Show on the Road

The Art Department is making plans to take a department trip to Chicago the weekend of April 8. Mark your calendars now and consider joining in.

The plan is to visit museums/galleries in Chicago with stops along the way to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Dayton Art Institute.

This is planned to be a three day, two night trip, leaving on Friday, April 8 and returning Sunday, April 10.

Priority registration will be given to Kappa Pi members, then art majors/minors, then anyone taking an art class, and finally anyone else (if there is still room).

Stay posted for further details in the coming weeks.

Image: from beneath Cloud Gate, by Anish Kapoor.

Prof. Kincer

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to everyone and a special welcome to our transfer students who are majoring in art.

The art department met last week in preparation for our semester. We've got a lot of great activities on tap for this semester including: Empty Bowls project making ceramic bowls for charity;a visit to Louisville to hear noted art historian Linda Nochlin; a department field trip crossing the state line; several opportunities to see art in our galleries; and our regular "Art for Lunch" offerings on Feb. 3, Mar. 3, and April 7.

Mark your calendars, get inspired, and make art work (or artwork).
photo from the New York Public Library, Return of the 93rd to New York Harbor, 1946

Friday, January 14, 2011

s p a c e with Boris Zakic - got questions?

Please pose questions for the January 27 dialogue event by posting a comment, below, or via e-mail to

an exhibition in the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery
January 27 - February 24, 2011

Reception and dialogue 
a GC NEXUS event 
Thursday, January 27, 5-7 p.m.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another Look at Conservation

A few weeks back, this blog provided us with a neat view of the conservation process involved with drawings.  Paintings require similar, meticulous work in order to mitigate damage or "correct" inconsistencies that can occur over time. I regularly keep an eye out for articles addressing museum conservation practices as I find it fascinating (and a bit daunting) to know museum standards hold that any conservation treatment done to work of art should be reversible.  In addition, there is some controversy involved with attempts to "restore" art works to their "original" conditions considering it is not usually the hand of the artist who can make the necessary repairs.  Furthermore, the attribution of a work to a specific artist can change, or even be changed, at the hands of museum conservators.
from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
A recent article concerning renewed attribution involves the head of conservation at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Gianfranco Pocobene.  He recently conserved a Diego Velazquez (or is it?) portrait of Spain's Philip IV.  For a look at the Boston Globe article and embedded video concerning the portrait, click the link and see what you think!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Opportunity: Food and Migration Competition

"Art Your Food" International call for artists. Deadline March 1, 2011 See full listing here.

Books to match your art?

We've all heard of collectors selecting and purchasing a work of art for its ability to match decor. Well, now, maybe that need not be the custom. Thanks to Thatcher Wine who creates custom book collections for clients. Fascinating, entrepreneurial, and cheeky. See the article here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Does technology really work in museums?

After reading the article Museums 2.0: What Happens When Great Art Meets New Media? I have to wonder if technology will ever really work with museums. There is something to be said for actually going to a museum and experiencing the artwork for yourself. Now while I have never been to any super prestigious museum such as the MoMA or the Corcoran, I have been to view different shows when they have been at the Speed in Louisville and there is definitely a difference in just seeing a picture of a painting and seeing the painting for yourself.
This article gives several examples of how technology is already being used in museums such as audio tours and videos being played near the works of art and I personally do not see any problems with those forms of technology being used in the actual museums themselves. The problem comes when museums begin to have the tours online for people to see the artwork online and people do not feel the need to actually go to the museum any longer. One of the ongoing debates in my History of Modern Art class this semester was whether or not many of the students in the class liked Rothko's artwork with the student who really appreciated his artwork saying that you just had to experience it for yourself. I personally am not a fan of Rothko but maybe if I had gone to the Rothko's chapel and seen it for myself as opposed to just seeing pictures online I would feel differently. So many different sculptures and paintings can only be experienced in person because they are just too large to get a feel of through the computer screen.
It's sad when museums are being reduced to a Facebook layout of being able to comment on different paintings and clicking the "like" button along with millions of other people.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Art Devotion

The tag line, "What Medieval Art Has That Contemporary Art Badly Needs" led me to a great commentary in the Atlantic Monthly.  Written by Andrew Baker in response to a less than inspiring visit to the Whitney Biennial, "The Cloisters: A Good Place to Start" compares the experience of viewing works by anonymous artisans and the exquisitely painted The Merode Altarpiece triptych by Robert Campin to works by several more "famous" artists many of us know and love, including Mark Rothko.  In sum, Baker suggests that "...devotion—more than talent, craft, inspiration, or even time—is what separates them from us."  In other words, instead of seeking fame and fortune, medieval artists likely cared more about the artwork itself, and they were devoted to the act of making something worth remembering.  If you're looking for something to read, I recommend this provocative article about artists' motivations as well as similarities and differences concerning what the historical and current art worlds might value most. 

Opportunities: Position listing D.C.

Newseum Part-time Teacher, Washington, DC


Pop-Art began in the 1950s in Britain and in the 1960s in America. Pop Art arose as a form of rebellion towards Abstract Expressionism which was seen as over intense and pretentious. Pop Art was meant for the ordinary man using ordinary objects that every person would recognize and love. People loved Pop Art because it could be mass produced but that was also an issue that art critics had because they did not believe it was truly art since it could be copied so readily.
The most well known artists are David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Hockney is one of the most famous Pop artists from Britain. He worked with paint, set design and photography. Hockney was most famous for his photocollages and paintings of swimming pools which he made during the time in which he lived in California. Johns is an American artist who is most well known for painting and printmaking. Johns is most well known for his painting of the Flag and most of his other paintings include images and objects from popular culture which is what characterizes him as a Pop artist. Johns mainly used maps, letters, numbers, flags, and targets as the objects of his paintings and prints. Lichtenstein was most well known for using old fashioned comic book strips as his subject matter. He is said to have defined Pop Art the best through his use of parody with the comic book strips as can be seen in Whaam!. Warhol is probably the most well known Pop Artist and seems to have summed up the entire idea of Pop Art in this quote: “What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca-Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca-Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca-Cola, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.” This is the reason why Warhol used such iconic objects in his screenprinting, mainly using Campbell’s soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles. Warhol also did paintings of iconic characters such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. Some of Warhol’s paintings had bright, neon colors with the colors not really resembling the actual image. This can be seen in Warhol’s depiction of Marilyn Monroe.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Emile Bernard

Emile Bernard was born on April 28, 1868 and died on April 16, 1941. He was a Post-Impressionist painter who was friends with Cezanne, Gauguin, Boch and Van Gogh. Bernard helped to start two art movements Synthetism and Cloisonnism. Synthetism was meant to synthesize three features of art being the artist’s feelings about their subject; the outward appearance of natural forms; and the purity of line, color and form. Cloisonnism was when an object was outlined and then colored in using one flat color. Bernard’s Breton Women and Children highlights this style. This can be seen by looking at figures and how the two women in the center have such heavy black outlining around them and are filled in with a very muted brown.
Bernard studied at College Sainte Barbe but was expelled for insubordinate behavior which included being expressive in his paintings. Once he was expelled from school Bernard went on a backpacking trip to Brittany and met Gauguin. After his trip to Brittany he went back home to move into his parents and saw his first exhibition with Seurat and Signac. A year later Bernard was invited to Seurat’s studio and Bernard was extremely interested in the Pointilism art movement, however Bernard and his friend Anquetin decided instead to start painting in the Cloisonnism style. During this time Bernard also met Van Gogh who arranged an exhibition with his own work along with Bernard, Anquetin and Koning.
“The first means that I use is to simplify nature to an extreme point. I reduce the lines only to the main contrasts and I reduce the colors to the seven fundamental colors of the prism. To see a style and not an item. To highlight the abstract sense and not the objective. And the second means were to appeal to the conception and to the memory by extracting yourself from any direct atmosphere. Appeal more to internal memory and conception. There I was expressing myself more, it was me that I was describing, although I was in front of the nature. There was an invisible meaning under the mute shape of exteriority.” This quote does a fantastic job of describing the ways in which Bernard worked within the Cloisonnism style. The point of this style was to outline certain objects in black so that they would stand out from the rest of the painting. Cloisonnism was very close to Symbolism in that the symbols in the paintings were meant to stand out, just within Cloisonnism the artists went about it in a different manner.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Recapping the Decade

With lines like: "I'd rather hang with adults who believe in the Tooth Fairy than kids who believe corporate branding design hack Shep Fairey is an artist", Mat Gleason is hysterical, brutal, and condense in his recapitulation of overrated artists of the decade. I am not suggesting that I agree with everything he writes, but reading his article did make me wonder, "is it time to reset the boundaries of artistic practice?"